Abimelech by conspiracy with the Shechemites, and murder of his brethren, is made king.
Judges 9:1 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, Judges 9:2 Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Which [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] seventy persons, should reign over you, or that one should reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. Judges 9:3 And his mother's brethren spoke of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. Judges 9:4 And they gave him seventy [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired vain and light persons, who followed him. Judges 9:5 And he went to his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] seventy persons, upon one stone; notwithstanding, yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. Judges 9:6 And all the men of Shechem assembled, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.
Jotham by a parable rebuketh them, and foretelleth their ruin.
Judges 9:7 And when they told [it] to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice and cried, and said to them, Hearken to me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken to you. Judges 9:8 The trees went forth [on a time] to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive-tree, Reign thou over us. Judges 9:9 But the olive-tree said to them, Should I leave my fatness, with which by me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Judges 9:10 And the trees said to the fig-tree, Come thou, [and] reign over us. Judges 9:11 But the fig-tree said to them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Judges 9:12 Then said the trees to the vine, Come thou, [and] reign over us. Judges 9:13 And the vine said to them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Judges 9:14 Then said all the trees to the bramble, Come thou, [and] reign over us. Judges 9:15 And the bramble said to the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, [then] come [and] put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. Judges 9:16 Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him according to the deserving of his hands: Judges 9:17 (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you from the hand of Midian: Judges 9:18 And ye have risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, seventy persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maid-servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he [is] your brother:) Judges 9:19 If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, [then] rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: Judges 9:20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech. Judges 9:21 And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
Gaal conspireth with the Shechemites against him.
Judges 9:22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel, Judges 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: Judges 9:24 That the cruelty [done] to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother who slew them, and upon the men of Shechem who aided him in the killing of his brethren. Judges 9:25 And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him on the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech. Judges 9:26 And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him. Judges 9:27 And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trod [the grapes], and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech. Judges 9:28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who [is] Abimelech, and who [is] Shechem, that we should serve him; [is] not [he] the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him? Judges 9:29 And would that this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thy army, and come out.
Zebul revealeth it.
Judges 9:30 And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. Judges 9:31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech privately, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed, and his brethren, are come to Shechem; and behold, they fortify the city against thee. Judges 9:32 Now therefore rise by night, thou, and the people that [are] with thee, and lie in wait in the field: Judges 9:33 And it shall be, [that] in the morning, as soon as the sun hath risen, thou shalt rise early, and attack the city: and behold, [when] he and the people that [are] with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt find occasion.
Abimelech overcometh them, and soweth the city with salt.
Judges 9:34 And Abimelech rose, and all the people that [were] with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies. Judges 9:35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose, and the people that [were] with him, from lying in wait. Judges 9:36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said to him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as [if they were] men. Judges 9:37 And Gaal spoke again, and said, See, there come people down by the middle of the land, and another company come along by the plain of Meonenim. Judges 9:38 Then said Zebul to him, Where [is] now thy mouth, with which thou saidst, Who [is] Abimelech, that we should serve him? [are] not these the people that thou hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them. Judges 9:39 And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. Judges 9:40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown [and] wounded, [even] to the entrance of the gate. Judges 9:41 And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem. Judges 9:42 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech. Judges 9:43 And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and behold, the people [had] come out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them. Judges 9:44 And Abimelech, and the company that [was] with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city: and the two [other] companies ran upon all [the people] that [were] in the fields, and slew them. Judges 9:45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that [were] in it, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.
He burneth the hold of the god Berith.
Judges 9:46 And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard [that], they entered into a hold of the house of the god Berith. Judges 9:47 And it was told to Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were assembled. Judges 9:48 And Abimelech ascended mount Zalmon, he and all the people that [were] with him; and Abimelech took an ax in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid [it] on his shoulder, and said to the people that [were] with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, [and] do as I [have done]. Judges 9:49 And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put [them] to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them: so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.
At Thebez he is slain by a piece of a millstone.
Judges 9:50 Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. Judges 9:51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut [it] after them, and ascended to the top of the tower. Judges 9:52 And Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and came near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. Judges 9:53 And a certain woman cast a piece of of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and broke his skull. Judges 9:54 Then he called hastily to the young man his armor-bearer, and said to him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. Judges 9:55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man to his place.
Jotham's curse is fulfilled.
Judges 9:56 Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: Judges 9:57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.